Feb 22, 2011

The Superfluous Man

And once more given to inaction,
Empty in spirit and alone,
He settled down - to the distraction
Of making other minds his own;
Collecting books, he stacked a shelfful,
Read, read, not even one was helpful:
Here, there was dullness, there pretence;
This one lacked conscience, that one sense;
All were by different shackles fettered;
And, past times having lost their hold,
The new still raved about the old.
Like women, books he now deserted,
And mourning taffeta he drew
Across the bookshelf's dusty crew.

Disburdened of the world's opinions,
Like him, disdaining vanity,
At that time we became companions.
I liked his personality,
The dreams to which he was addicted,
The oddness not to be depicted,
The sharp, chilled mind and gloomy bent
That rivalled my embitterment.
We both had known the play of passions,
By life we both had been oppressed;
In each the heart had lost its zest;
Each waited for the machinations
Of men, and blind Fortuna's gaze,
Blighting the morning of our days.

- Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (Chapter I, stanzas 44-45)

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